Delicious. Nutritious. Perfectly Packaged. Yep, that is the banana. A perfect, portable, healthy and tasty food. And now is time to add “complex”, “versatile”, “herbaceous” and “utilitarian” to your list of why we should all go bananas. The banana is indeed “complex”, belonging to the same plant family as the lily and the orchid and containing varying flavors, colors and 600mg of potassium per 8-9 inch fruit. The banana is also very “herbaceous” as it is really a giant clumping herb that grows from 10 to 26 feet tall. The banana has been cultivated since 5000 B.C. and lends to many applications outside of just a delicious snack. The “versatility” of the banana includes uses in the manufacturing of Japanese textiles to the staining and coloring of fabrics via its sap.
The banana is “utilitarian” without question. No bag, container or preparation is required. Throw it in your satchel, toss it in the car and no matter the temperature, the banana tastes great. The banana can be eaten raw, frozen, heated and grilled. The banana can be mashed, baked and dehydrated. Varieties include the Manzano, Burro, Karat, Blue Java, Red Dacca, Goldfinger and the common Cavendish.
- The Manzano is known as the “Apple Banana” due to its slight berry and apple flavor. The Manzano is best eaten when the peel is dark black and the flesh is dry. The Manzano is scrumptious and grills beautifully. The Manzano also contains a substantial amount of vitamin C, approximately 10% more than the standard Cavendish.
- The Burro, the little squat banana, excellent for curry dishes and other savory delights has twice the fiber as the Cavendish and a firm, creamy flesh with a slight citrus kick.
- The Karat banana is a small orange fruit with an excellent taste and a superior nutrient profile. Offering 100 times more beta-carotene than the average Cavendish and providing an easily metabolized source of vitamin B2, the Karat has been used as a solid food for small children and enjoyed throughout Micronesia for millennia. The Karat banana is an excellent nutritional source that, due to its vitamin B2 density, increases the metabolism and uptake of iron.
- TheBlue Java is a creamy, rich and velvety variety that is often referred to as the ice cream banana. This banana is used widely in desserts and baking. The Blue Java is wonderfully vanilla flavored and delicately textured.
- TheRed Dacca and Goldfinger are also great for grilling, nutrient dense and add a wonderfully sweet and firm texture to any dish or snack.
- What we frequently consume, the Cavendish, is the American go-to favorite that actually tastes great either ripe or over-ripe.
Do not be afraid of black spots on your banana peel or a black peel for that matter. As a banana ripens and the natural sugars increase, the peel becomes dark. Save your over-ripe bananas for baking and for smoothies. Simply un-peel and place in an airtight container or bag and freeze until needed. The overly ripe banana is super sweet and soft, easily mashed and blended and oh so yummy. Overly ripe bananas can be used with whey protein powder and coconut oil to make ice cream in a blender, food processor or VitaMix. So go Bananas! Try them all out and see for yourself how versatile bananas truly are and how creative you can be!
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.